Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J. K. Rowling

Hardcover, 1999

Call number



Scholastic (1999), 352 pages


When the Chamber of Secrets is opened again at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, second-year student Harry Potter finds himself in danger from a dark power that has once more been released on the school.

Media reviews

The atmosphere Rowling creates is unique; the story whizzes along; Harry is an unassuming and completely sympathetic hero. But, truth to tell, you may feel as if you’ve read it all before. Rowling clearly hit on a winning formula with the first Harry Potter book; the second book — though still
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great fun — feels a tad, well, formulaic.
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1 more
Tras derrotar una vez más a lord Voldemort, su siniestro enemigo en Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal, Harry espera impaciente en casa de sus insoportables tíos el inicio del segundo curso del Colegio Hogwarts de Magia y Hechicería. Sin embargo, la espera dura poco, pues un elfo aparece en su
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habitación y le advierte que una amenaza mortal se cierne sobre la escuela. Así pues, Harry no se lo piensa dos veces y, acompañado de Ron, su mejor amigo, se dirige a Hogwarts en un coche volador. Pero ¿puede un aprendiz de mago defender la escuela de los malvados que pretenden destruirla? Sin saber que alguien ha abierto la Cámara de los Secretos, dejando escapar una serie de monstruos peligrosos, Harry y sus amigos Ron y Hermione tendrán que enfrentarse con arañas gigantes, serpientes encantadas, fantasmas enfurecidos y, sobre todo, con la mismísima reencarnación de su más temible adversario.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member ncgraham
Here, ladies and gentlemen, we have a classic example of the infamous “sophomore slump.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets cannot, unlike its predecessor, rest its laurels on J. K. Rowling’s world-building and the charm of the characters. We have already met Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the
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rest of the cast. We have already had the delightful experience of discovering Hogwarts for the first time. Now it was up to Rowling to ratchet up the intensity of the series either by increasing the stakes or delving more deeply into Harry’s psychology. She doesn’t do nearly enough of either.

I suppose that, from an objective perspective, the stakes are a little higher. Evil not only threatens the world of Hogwarts in this book: it touches it, leaves a mark on it. The Chamber of Secrets (like the Stone of the preceding book, the exact nature of the Chamber is kept a mystery for much of the story) is opened somewhere within the school’s walls, and students are found petrified in the hallways. Yet in spite of all this, I didn’t feel there was as much at risk as in Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone. I never doubted that there would be a cure for a petrifaction, and knew that the threat itself would eventually be eradicated. So the danger here really isn’t much more than a long nap, is it? I didn’t think there was anything in here to match the Forbidden Forest chapter for suspense and thrills.

One of my main complaints about the book is the tedious rehearsal of everything that happened in Sorcerer’s Stone during the opening chapters (and I do mean everything). I’m sure it’s useful for those who somehow missed the first book, or hadn’t read it in awhile, but for those who are coming Chamber it right off of Sorcerer’s Stone, the repetition is unnecessary and irritating.

I’m not especially fond of the new characters Rowling incorporates here, either. Gilderoy Lockhart, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, is occasionally hilarious in his egocentricity (“my secret ambition is to rid the world of evil and market my own range of hair-care potions”), but mostly, he’s just annoying. The Harry Potter fan club nonsense is annoying. Dobby is certainly annoying. Of the new characters, Lucius Malfoy makes for an excellent “surface-level” villain, and it’s nice to read more about the Weasleys; I especially like Mrs. Weasley. It would have been nice to have seen a little more clearly into Ginny’s mind, considering the part she plays in the plot, but I suppose that would have been outside the compass of the narrative.

This is still an engrossing read—I polished it off in half a day—but I would only recommend it on account of what precedes and follows it. It’s still good … just not as good.
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LibraryThing member silenceiseverything
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets seems to be the least favorite book of many HP fans. However, for many years The Chamber of Secrets was my second favorite book (this was before I read Deathly Hallows and followed my other favorite The Goblet of Fire). There's just something about it that's
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so captivating, a bit moreso than The Sorcerer's Stone.

I think my love for The Chamber of Secrets stems from the fact that this is the first time we get an in-depth introduction to the elder Weasleys. In fact, I think the chapter where Harry goes to the Burrow might be my FAVORITE chapter out of all seven books (or at least my favorite "fluffy" chapter). Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are just really great characters and so my love for that chapter knows no bounds.

Of course, The Chamber of Secrets also holds my LEAST favorite chapter out of all seven books: Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party (I can totally see why it was excluded from the movie). It's just such a boring chapter. I do like St. Nicholas, but mostly in small increments. Devoting a whole chapter to him, though, is not my idea of fun.

I also loved the whole rivalry between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slythering. I found it fascinating how Slytherin only wanted "pure" bloods in the school and didn't want any Muggle-borns in (there has to be some allegorical meaning behind THAT). Plus, I remember reading the line "The Chamber of Secrets has now been opened. Enemies of the heir, BEWARE" and literally getting chills on my arm (I'm a bit weird that way).

Oh and let's not forget the inclusion of two very lovable characters: Dobby and Gilderoy Lockheart. There's no need to go in to why Dobby is loveable (he's sweet, loyal, and he's so easy to sympathize with), but Lockheart needs a teeny bit of explaining. He's hilarious. That's it. That's the only reason why I love him. Sure he has a big head and thinks he's God's gift to the wizarding world, but again, he just has such fantastic one-liners ("celebrity is as celebrity does" and my personal favorite "It's like magic!").

So, yes, I love Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It's always one of the books out of the series that I look most forward to reading. But, let's face it, I look forward to reading ALL of the Harry Potter series.
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LibraryThing member marialondon
It had to be five stars...because how else can you rate a book (or the whole series) when you can't seem to stop reading, from the moment the book starts until the last page...After finishing (in one sitting) the first book in the Harry Potter series, I ran out to buy number two, which I also read
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as quick as possible. The characters that I came to know & like in the first book were all there (Harry, Hagrid, Hermione & Ron), the humour was there, & of course the mystery was there...culminating in an interesting & unexpected ending. If I absolutely HAD to look for a flaw in book number two, the only thing I'd say is that it's not that different from book 1. And therefore it doesn't take you so much by surprise as the first one does. The third book in the series (The prisoner of Azkaban) is, I believe, much better than the first 2 books. But anyway: these are all details: the point is that the Harry Potter books are clear, pure fun & even if one is a little better or a little worse than the other, all in all, the four books (up till now) are all very worth reading.
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LibraryThing member stephenwhitt
I enjoyed all the Harry Potter books. I chose to add this book to my library because it has what I think is the most significant quote in the series. Dumbledore says to Harry,

"It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities."

I hope someday to write one sentence with that
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much truth.
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LibraryThing member MidnightTears
Again, J. K. Rowling brings to life the wizarding world. Her writing matures to fit Harrys age here, and this is a plesant change.

Once again Harry is trying to find his place in life, after meeting the one that has caused so much pain and suspecion at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
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Ron and Hermione mature right along with Harry, and we find the three-some unraveling another mystery. This time, the person caught in the middle is a loved one!

The end wraps up the storyline well, still leaving the reader waiting for the next book.

I'll give this 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. The writing is still a bit young, the book still a slow read. However, there is a promise that Rowling might just be writing the books to reflect Harry's age. If so it will by lovely to watch this story evolve. I say, "have faith, keep reading."
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LibraryThing member 391
Chamber of Secrets is one of my favorites in the series. Rowling combines adventure and fantasy with humor and good storytelling to create a really enjoyable read. And, despite its slightly dark tone, it's much more lighthearted than 5 and 7.
LibraryThing member bjanecarp
Today I decided to review JK Rowling's second book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry Potter faces all the school things a muggle-born boy might only, of course, Of course, Harry is anything but normal. As an infant, his head is scarred by Voldemort's death
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curse, which nearly destroyed the Dark Lord. Now the boy is a twelve-year-0ld wizard in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

In this book, Rowling introduces a division in the wizarding world, between those who believe wizards should come from wizard-only ("pureblood") families, and people who accept the wizards from muggle-born parents. This concept forms the foundation for much of the plot for the next 6 novels. Lord Voldemort and his followers have done much over the years to impede muggle-borns (who they derisively call "mudbloods") in every way possible. The followers and descendants of Salazar Slytherin are noted for their hatred of muggle-borns wizards.

The crux of the matter is this: where does Harry belong? He was almost placed in Slytherin house. He is a Parselmouth, a wizard who can communicate with snakes, which is an extremely rare ability, noted as a gift possessed of Slytherin. Somewhere beneath halls of Hogwarts is the fabled Chamber of Secrets, guarded and unseen by Slytherin's monster. Harry, who knows little of of his own family, is terrified he is Slytherin's heir, and is suspected of initiating the attacks on muggle-born students throughout the school.

Harry struggles with who he is, much as we do. Are we beings who are controlled by nature, or by the choices we make? At the height of Harry's self-doubt Dumbledore insists that "only a true Griffindor could have pulled [Griffindor's sword] out of the hat." Despite this, the story doesn't read as a morality tale. It is filled with action and, truth be told, reads more as a school whodunnit. The reader is constantly asking, "Who is the Heir of Slytherin?" and "Who or what is petrifying the students?" This in itself isn't a surprise. Plenty of other novels make the reader ask those questions. The difference is this: JK Rowling makes us care about the answers.

The book is punctuated with humorous anecdotes of the eccentric Defense against the Dark Arts instructor, a few wild and gripping quidditch matches, and of course the grudge between Harry and his Slytherin-house nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Rowling's writing is, once again, taut. She seldom uses frivolous words and phrases. I particularly appreciate this of her. Nothing is discarded or throwaway in her writing. Forgotten characters from the series's first book resurface a half dozen novels later. A seemingly innocuous mention of a potion or spell at the beginning of a book proves to be extremely important later in the same story. It is appealing to me, both as a writer and a reader, to see how she is not frivolous with words, characters, and most especially, the Magical World she's created.

That said, Her characters are pitch perfect. We remember what it's like to be twelve, and despise someone in school. We remember what it's like to have a best friend who's a girl, to whom we have no romantic consideration. We remember loving, and hating, and thinking too severe, any number of teachers. At that age, we notice girls with frizzy hair and large front teeth. We think puking up slugs is the height of comedy. Not only can Rowling write, but she has complete mastery over every situation in her novels.

The only downside I can think of is the Scholastic (American) edition of the novels: I despise Mary Grandpré's art, and can hardly stomach these covers. As appealing as the novels are, I have to be honest: it's one time when the cover nearly made me judge the book. The Chamber of Secrets is not just for children. It's exemplary in every way. However, the cover made me think it was written for eight-year-olds. After seeing Grandpré's covers, I expected a novel that read in couplets like "Humbledy bumbledy diggledy pum / Draco the Malfoy is silly and dumb." Gods be thanked, I was wrong, and thrilled to admit how wrong I was...

Kudos to her for an exemplary second novel. Of course, I've read the other five, and will review each in turn.

Five stars of five.
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LibraryThing member pluckybamboo
For a long time this book was my favorite book of the series. The mystery slowly unravels and the new magic and characters make this book a wonderful installment in the series.

It has an interesting and creative play on racism. Rowling brought the very present issue of not everyone being equal into
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her Harry Potter fantasy in a way that children and adults can really understand and appreciate. Certainly this novel is a little bit darker than the first, but it's not by much. And, after all, there has always been two sides, good and bad, black and white, to magic--and to life.

So many elements of this story are relevant for today. Ginny's insecurities attending a new school, the feeling of not belonging due to circumstances beyond your control, loyaty to friends, issues of abandonment....they are all here in the Chamber of Secrets.

The end of this book always made me want to jump out of my chair and cheer!
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LibraryThing member bluejay5269113
in the second book of the Harry Potter series, the character Voldemort, or Tom Riddle, is greatly developed. in the beginning, the reader doesn't know that Lord Voldemort and Riddle are the same person, and you may even start to believe the Riddle is a protagonist, working for the greater good. but
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this round character will soon have you hating his guts, as he easily betrays Harry, and nearly kills Ginny. J.K. Rowling defiantly does a great job writing this character.
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LibraryThing member TheLostEntwife
For the longest time, I believed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to be my least favorite of the Harry Potter books - but I think this book has edged its way up.

Now, granted, there are parts I really enjoy. I love getting to know Ginny Weasley, I love the introduction of Dobby, I can never
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get enough of the Dursley's...but I think it's Gilderoy Lockhart that is just a little too over the top for me.

Granted - the movie makes him more bearable, because it puts a face to the horribly pompous person that he is, but overall I find myself increasingly annoyed by his presence in every single important scene and, much like the teachers at Hogwarts, wish he'd just prove himself or get out of the way.

There's a lot that's revealed in this second book, which is a good reason in and of itself to not discount it (Harry and the parseltongue explanation), but in spite of all the good, it's just one of my least favorite books.

Now.. here is where I am going to be a bit odd - because it's actually one of my favorite of the movies. Don't ask me to explain it, but Lockheart doesn't annoy me nearly as much on screen as he does on paper. Make sense? No? Don't worry, I'm confused by it too.

As always, there are small discrepancies between the book and the movie, but nothing horribly out of place (except.. why oh why wouldn't you put Peeves in the movies?!). At least the book is on the shorter side of all the books in this series, so while re-reading I don't have to spend too much time being annoyed by Lockheart.

By the way, I much prefer the movie Moaning Myrtle to the book one as well - because the movie one DOES annoy me and the book one doesn't. I don't make sense, I know.
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LibraryThing member juju1220
I fell immediately fell in love with this authors use of words and captivating story line and amazing characters! This was the second year of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts school and the plot thickens as the pages are turned. Full of wonderful new characters and twists and turns. J.K Rowlings work
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has given young readers around the world a key to the joy of reading! My favorite part of the book was near the end when Harry and his friends figured out the ordeal behind the chamber of secrets and who was attacking the students at Hogwarts. Moaning Myrtle and her bathroom pathway and Harry's ability to beat "Tom Riddle" aka Voldermort was clearly a demonstration of remarkable fantasy talent written by this author. Appropriate for all children who love to read and follow Harry in these wonderful tales!! Wonderful!! Can't wait to read the third and watch the movies:)
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LibraryThing member bardsfingertips
This was a fun read, very much like the first book only with a greater span on the introduction of characters and more of Harry Potter's past in relation of what-the-hell-is-going-on.

I had one issue with this book, and this is a common thing new writers often suffer from. When writing, authors
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always want to improve on the previous novel. In this case, Rowling tried to expand on the number of events going on with Harry & his cohorts. The issue here is she tried to do that without expanding too much on the number of pages; so all of the scenes are shorter, choppier, and essentially rushed. As this is only her second publish book, this is not her fault.

I have talked to other readers of the series, and they tend to agree with each other that this is the weakest book of the series and that it gets much better with the third.

We shall see.
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LibraryThing member anterastilis
I remember, from the first time around, that I didn’t really like this book. I think that it is my least favorite Harry Potter book, actually. But that doesn’t mean that it’s bad by any means.

Harry is back at Hogwarts for his second year. There are things that I really liked about this book:
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I thought Tom Riddle’s diary was pretty cool, I liked the further development of Dumbledore as a pretty cool guy and of Lucius as a pretty bad dude, I LOVE the Flying Ford Anglia. I don’t so much like Dobby, what they find in the forest, or the new DADA professor. I got sick of Colin pretty quickly, and I didn’t really enjoy the save-the-girl plot device used…well, both with Hermione AND Ginny. There’s also a lot of self-flagellating in this book, both from Moaning Myrtle and Dobby. It got a bit old.

But I digress. We get to learn more about Harry, the school, the Malfoy family, the Weasleys (oh, how I want to have a Burrow of my own!), Tom Riddle, the wizarding world: stigma of being a mudblood, what Mr. Weasley does, all that good stuff. I’m okay with this being a link between books one and three – and I am still looking forward to what comes next.
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LibraryThing member magemanda
Harry has had a miserable summer. None of his friends have written to him and he wonders whether Hogwarts and the world of wizardry that he discovered the year before is just a dream. Four weeks before he is due to return to school he has a visit from Dobby the House Elf who warns him away from
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returning to Hogwarts. And so we embark on another year at Hogwarts and another mystery - this time involving the Chamber of Secrets, of the title.

I still thoroughly enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the first. The main reason for this was the clumsy need to recap that Rowling displayed. The worst instance was when Colin and Harry are walking to the Quidditch pitch and Harry has to explain how it all works - it isn't completely unforgiveable since Colin has only just started at Hogwarts, but I felt it was superfluous nonetheless, and this was not the only instance.

My other reason for the half star being dropped was Gilderoy Lockhart, a very tiresome character who boasts constantly about his achievements. I can see how some people might regard him as humourous but I begrudged any of his 'screentime' and wished he hadn't been introduced.

In this book the fright factor is increased. There is a spine chilling scene in the Forbidden Forest, especially if you are not that fond of spiders, and I still have nerves when Harry faces off against Tom Riddle and he reveals who he actually is. Some younger readers might well be scared by some of the moments in this story.

Once again, the characters are fleshed out fantastically, even minor characters such as Lee Jordan (who commentates the Quidditch matches in a very entertaining manner). All of them are extremely memorable and, even in just this second book of the series, very familiar to the reader. It is a tribute to Rowling's writing of these characters that I never mix up my Professor Sprout with my Professor Flitwick - each of the people who roam the wizarding world have their own characteristics and personalities.

The little details also charmed me. I love the fact that the students have to turn in essays of a certain length in inches on their rolled parchment, rather than word count or pages. I enjoy the Dickensian element of the story - the quills for writing, the clothes and robes. The descriptions of the feasts are unbelievable - they make you wish you could be transported to eat there.

This is not my favourite of the seven in the series for reasons detailed above, but it is still a great read!
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LibraryThing member HermionesTwin
Very good and exciting, though not my favorite in the series.
LibraryThing member mcivalleri
What can one say about the Harry Potter books?
The world created, a now familiar one, is fully of mystery...and the books are written with some intelligence, and don't underestimate the reader. The addition of new characters (the little house elf "Dobby", and the Weasley brothers) widen the story a
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bit. It is funny, scary, and intriguing. It goes without saying that this book should be in a school library...all of the books in this series are REQUIRED to be in every school library!!
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LibraryThing member truncoxx
As always, I loved this book in the series of Harry Potter. It brings the wizarding world back into our lives. I love the mystery and suspense in it but I also love how I can get lost in its made up world. And I always somehow end up wanting to live there. The particular story this time around is
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about a chamber of secrets left by the creator of Slytherin. It has some insight into the past of some fellow Hogwart teachers and students.
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LibraryThing member unlikelyaristotle
This was my favorite Harry Potter book. I'm truly sad that the series are over. There will only ever be seven Harry Potter books!!!
Rowling has a wonderful knack for storytelling. I love how everything seems so impossibly mysterious at the beginning, and it all ties in at the end.

One thing I
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always wondered about the wizarding world was why would they celebrate Christmas? Lol, I don't know why I just assumed witches and wizards would be Wiccans instead and follow more wiccan rituals? Hmmm...

In any case, I just love the trio: Harry, Hermione and Ron, I love the strong friendship that holds them together. And of course Dobby the house-elf!! Such a cute and sometimes infuriating little creature!

I have a strong feeling that these books in the years to come is going to create cults like the LOTR ones!!! I'd join :-D
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LibraryThing member harpua
I enjoyed Chamber of Secrets much more than the first Harry Potter novel. I had already seen the movie (many times I'm sure as my kids love the Harry Potter films) so I knew the basic plot and I don't think that the movie drifted too far from the novel. There may have been a few minor things in the
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books that you didn't see in the movie, but to be honest, I really can't name one. The pacing on this one improved immensely from the first novel and this one was hard to put down. If I was new to the Harry Potter world, the first book may have kept me from reading further, but this would keep me moving on.
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LibraryThing member mumspassion
Brilliant again
LibraryThing member tristan.hines12
love this book
LibraryThing member susiehinckley
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the series. Harry is now in his second year at Hogwarts. He and his friends must figure out who is behind the opening of the Chamber or else the school will close. Again in this installment Harry is called upon to deal with the
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person that murdered his parents.
I loved this book just as much as the first. The author does a good job of keeping the reader on their toes. I can't wait to read the next one to see what happens.
Again, this book would not be appropriate for young readers. This chapter book would be a great way to get students to use their imagination.
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LibraryThing member AwXomeMan
The second adventure for our hero Harry Potter. This one lets us learn a little more about Voldemort's past. The Chamber of Secrets is opened and students are being attacked by something within it. Apparently the heir of Slytherin has returned and opened the Chamber. Harry and his friends must find
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out who the heir is and stop them from attacking students before it's too late.

Although this is the second book in the series it was actually the first one I ever read. This is the book that got me into the series in the first place.

Just as with the first book in the series I would give this book to any children who have started reading chapter books.
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LibraryThing member JechtShot
The Chamber of Secrets has been opened... again! The second book in the Harry Potter series continues to develop the characters first introduced in "The Sorcerer's Stone". In Harry's second year at Hogwarts he encounters something that is threatening to close the school and kill the students.
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Naturally, Harry's inner hero comes to the plate as he faces the next challenge. In this novel, J.K. Rowling adds a few more faces to the cast of characters in the "Potterverse": Tom Riddle, Dobby, Lucius Malfoy, Gilderoy Lockhart and many others. If you have not read this series you are missing out.

This book provides significant foreshadowing on the books to come, but I will stop that thought there to avoid spoiling one of the greatest fantasy series' ever conceived.
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LibraryThing member TadAD
I found this one a bit boring after the wonderful start of Sorcerer's Stone. Still, there's some good backstory and it does get you on to the next two, which are very enjoyable.




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